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4.41 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2016


1. A Greater Call (08:19)
2. Chevron (08:54)
3. The Wreck Of S.S. Needle (09:34)
4. Approaching Transition (12:59)
5. Cygnus (14:50)

Total Time 54:36

Vinyl and Japanese CD editions:

6. Beyond The Redshift (11:43)

Total Time 66:19


- Julie Christmas / vocals
- Magnus Líndberg / drums
- Johannes Persson / guitars, vocals
- Andreas Johansson / bass
- Thomas Hedlund / drums, percussion
- Fredrik Kihlberg / guitars, vocals
- Kristian Karlsson / keyboards, vocals

About this release

CD, digital album and 12" vinyl 2LP released 8th April 2016 on Indie Recordings (INDIE168).

LP also released as:
- blue splatter vinyl / 730 copies
- green splatter / 730 copies
- purple translucent with red splatter / 530 copies
- yellow splatter / 730 copies

CD released 8th April 2016 in Russia on Фоно (FO1223CD ).

CD released 8th April 2016 in Japan on Chaos Reigns (GQCS-90125) / Ward Records (GQCS-90125) / Indie Recordings (GQCS-90125), with bonus track.

Drums and bass recorded at Tonteknik Recordings Umeå, Sweden.
Additional recordings at Studio Hufvudstaden, Sönderköping, Sweden.
Julie Christmas' vocals produced and engineered at Translator Audio and Loho Studios, New York City, USA.
Mixed and mastered at Redmount Studios, Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Mariner (2016) is a collaborative full-length studio album release by Swedish sludge metal act Cult of Luna and American musician Julie Christmas (ex-Battle of Mice). For Cult of Luna Mariner serves as their seventh studio album, following Vertikal (2013) while for Julie Christmas it serves as a second album following The Bad Wife (2010). Mariner has a theme of space exploration and contains five tracks, each of them over the eight minute mark.

Of the two artists I only have some experience with Cult of Luna's work previously, have heard both Vertikal and the accompanying Vertikal II EP (2013). Julie Christmas I know has a similar sludge metal background though, so it's no surprise that the two artists prove a very compatible pairing on Mariner. The music is incredibly atmospheric but with plenty of harsh sections as well, mostly from the vocals provided by Cult of Luna, although Christmas isn't shy to throw in some screams as well. Typically the two both provide vocals in a track, but middle song The Wreck of S.S. Needle is notable for only using Julie's vocals, while the following Approaching Transition takes an opposite approach, not featuring her voice at all.

I usually find that atmospheric black metal acts have a monopoly on capturing the majesty of space, but between them Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas have created an experience to rival their cosmic black metal counterparts, also producing something more unique sounding in the process. Tracks like Chevron and Cygnus are of particular note, but the album has to be taken as a whole in order to really appreciate what's been created here, as the mood can vary quite a lot. The Wreck of S.S. Needle for example is a much more direct track focussing more on riffs than atmosphere, with Christmas providing a varied vocal than ranges from soft singing to manic screaming. Sometimes the album can seem simplistic on the surface, but once scratched many underlying details are revealed, some of which I'd even call progressive, all of which makes up the absorbing sound that makes Mariner such a great album.

I was impressed with Cult of Luna on Vertikal but I have to say that I enjoy Mariner so much more. Not only does Julie Christmas bring a voice that is a nice addition to the table, it simply seems to be an even stronger album on all counts. Mariner is definitely something more than a Cult of Luna album with a guest female vocalist. I'd like to hear these two work together again.

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